The Imperial Panda Festival

/ Wednesday /
The Imperial Panda Festival saw in it’s 3rd year in 2011. It was an exciting year, not only because of a City of Sydney grant (yay! I love it when it goes to something awesome), but also because I could FINALLY get along to it. Not only that, I volunteered at the festival which meant I got to see more then just one of two shows- four in fact!

What I love about the festival is it’s quirkiness. I really do have the feeling that you could rock up to any of the shows and see something totally fun and different. As well as that, the shows all seemed to have limited capacity, and not in a Chinese Laundry type of “limited capacity” (completely unrelated but I’m still annoyed by Kalkbrenner), but the type of limited capacity which makes it intimate and as if you’re truly part of something special.

Walking into the shows I had no expectations, and little pre-knowledge of the show. So here’s my wrap-up...

Campfire Collective

I loved the premise of this- a group of people coming together to tell everyday stories. I expected it to be interesting, a bit voyeuristic, and maybe 1 or 2 people who had a good story but maybe who could have delivered it better. Instead I got 6 (or 5?) really good, hilarious presenters, who projected and made me and everyone laugh. Out loud at that.

My favourite was Kate Worsley’s story about her top 5 weirdos including one on Enmore Road who tried to give her shoes. Who couldn't relate to that? Another was a story about a home invasion fail- but at least had the upside of producing comedy material. Then there was the story about one lesbians disappointing experience picking up and having sex with a cab driver who didn't think she could handle a fist.

It was a great show, and so simple in it’s premise. It had so much character and makes you reflect on your own stories too. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for these guys! You can check them out here.

Miles O’Neil

All I knew about Miles O’Neil was that “he’s also in The Suitcase Royale”. Great, only I didn’t know who they were either.

Miles show was a mixture of funny antidotes, projected vintage film footage and some very amazing songs/ guitar playing. His songs are what captured me the most- it really felt as if the songs were born from years of walking the earth and having experienced everything in life. I’m very much a lyric person, and due to my awkward sitting position it wasn’t something I concentrated on, but the nostalgic, textured sentiment of the songs was definitely there.

As well as this, just to show how much of a professional he is, even when the film projector stuffed up, he was meandering on stage fixing it and incorporating jokes. Did I mention he was also oh so well dressed?

Claudia O’Doherty: What Is Soil Erosion?

Initially when I saw this on the bill I thought it was a serious talk about soil erosion. After all, it’s cool to be knowledgeable and informed right? (of course I hear you say).

So when I found out it wasn’t it was a bit of an oh. moment.

What is Soil Erosion turned out the be a one woman show, based on a yet to be made awesome TV show set over the next 20 years (in tune with the moon cycles) about...well soil erosion.

Claudia energetically went through each of the episodes which included so much running around on a small stage that I felt hot just looking at her in her caramel turtleneck and cords.

There is absolutely no doubt the word “random” was created at the dawn of time with this show in mind. I went through lots of laughter, lots of confusion and lots of wondering what on earth she was going to do next. Oh, and there were lazers, you can’t have a show about soil erosion without lazers.

Dr Brown
This is was the secret show, held at the very trendy time of 11pm at night in Surry Hills. No one knew anything about the show and the organisers weren’t giving anything away. The only clue I got was “really good” and “some people have said it’s the best show they’ve ever seen”. How could you go wrong?

When I rocked up and found out it was sold out it made me LOVE Sydney so much. Gotta love it when people have faith. I ended up chatting to a few people and we joked about how it would be awful if the entire show was that once single thing that you hated, “like mime” she said.

It was mime.

The show started slowly. The lights came on. Then went down. The lights came on music played. Then stopped. This happened quite a few times. I could already tell this was preparing us for something.

I knew during the show why this was kept as a secret show. Try telling your friends about a great mime show that they should go see and see the reaction. This show was in fact really bloody good. I read one review that when trying to explain it someone tried to re-enact parts of it only to give up. That’s pretty much how it rolls. I could say that he pretended to stick chopsticks through this face, or that he acted out in a Japanese mask fingering someone, then put his fist, arm, then his whole body in, or that he took coffee orders only to shoosh people, but it just doesn’t quite do the show justice.

The show brought everyone on the same level, and once you were there, and realised where you were, everything was funny. Even the finale of stripping naked except for an apron, bending over, and wiggle his ass and balls somehow seemed appropriate. I think I covered my eyes.


I hope this encourages you get involved next year. There were so many shows I wanted to get to but couldn't. Shoutout to Rosie, Zoe, Elise, Mish and Eddie, and a big congratulations on putting on a great festival. I can't wait to see what next years has in stall!

Did you get along to any of the shows?


{ hila } on: March 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM said...

I can't believe I've never heard of this, it looks awesome! But then again, anything with "panda" in the title must be awesome :)

{ hila } on: March 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM said...

p.s. I've tagged you on my blog, see my latest post :)

{ jodeska } on: March 28, 2011 at 7:05 PM said...

It was awesome! I love pandas. I saw your tag, I'm onto it!

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